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MUSLIM FESTIVALS - ID

Besides Hinduism, India is also the home of innumerable other faiths and the religious and cultural diversity of this nation is manifested in the large number of non-Hindu festivals.

The sizeable Muslim communities have their Ids in common with Muslims across the world. Idu'l Fitr, Idu'l Zuha and Id-i-Milad are the three festive occasions widely celebrated by Muslims in India.

Id is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country, and one can see Muslims of all age groups and from all stratas of society attired in new clothes, visiting mosques to offer namaaz.

The tombs of many Sufi saints attract devotees of all religious persuasions, especially during the urs or death anniversaries. The best known urs are centred at tombs in towns like Ajmer, Delhi, Manakpur, Nagore and Dongri.

Id-ul-Fitr (Ramzan Id)
Coming with the new moon, this festival marks the end of Ramzan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. It was during this month that the holy Koran was revealed. Muslims keep a fast every day during this month and on the completion of the period, which is decided by the appearance of the new moon, Id-ul-Fitr is celebrated with great eclat. Prayers are offered in mosques and Idgahs and elaborate festivities are held.

Id-ul-Azha or Id-ul-Zuha (Bakr-Id)
The Id-ul-Azha commemorates the ordeal of Hazrat Ibrahim, who had been put to a terrible test by God when he was asked to sacrifice whatever was dearest to him and he decided to sacrifice the life of his son. As he was on the point of applying the sword to his son's throat, it was revealed to him that this was meant only to test his faith, and it was enough, if instead he sacrifices only a ram in the name of Allah. This is celebrated on the tenth day of Zilhijja, when the Haj celebrations at Mecca are rounded off by the sacrifice of goats or camels. In India, too, goats and sheep are sacrificed all over the country and prayers are offered.

Id-i-Milad (Barah-wafat)
The Prophet was born on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month of the Muslim year. His death anniversary also falls on the same day, the word 'barah' standing for the twelve days of the Prophet's sickness. During these days, sermons are delivered in mosques by learned men, focussing on the life and noble deeds of the Prophet. In some parts of the country, a ceremony known as 'sandal 'rite is performed over the symbolic footprints of the Prophet engraved in stone. A representation of 'buraq', a horse on which the Prophet is believed to have ascended to heaven , is kept near the footprints and anointed with sandal paste or scented powder, and the house and casket containing these are elaborately decorated. Elegies or 'marsiyas' are sung in memory of the last days of the Prophet. The twelfth day or the Urs proper is observed quietly, in prayers and alms-giving.


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